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Wednesday December 06, 2023

Biden turns 81 as voters show concern about age

By AFP
November 21, 2023
Biden, who turned 81 on Monday, is running for the White House in the US Presidential election to be held in 2024.  — AFP File
Biden, who turned 81 on Monday, is running for the White House in the US Presidential election to be held in 2024.  — AFP File

WASHINGTON: Joe Biden joked about his age as he celebrated his 81st birthday on Monday, but the issue is no laughing matter for many voters as he seeks reelection next year.

His birthday renews the focus on the fact that the Democrat is the oldest president in American history -- and that if he wins a second term next year he will be 86 by the time he leaves.

While his aides regularly lash out at those who cast doubt on whether he is too old to be commander-in-chief, Biden likes to suggest that age brings wisdom, or simply takes a light hearted approach.

“It´s difficult turning 60,” the president said with a chuckle at the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House on Monday, the same day as his birthday.

“This is the 76th anniversary of this event -- and I want you to know I wasn´t there for the first one,” he quipped. But a moment in which he mixed up US singers Taylor Swift and Britney Spears is likely to reinforce impressions among voters who have been concerned by a recent series of trips and slip-ups.

Footage of Biden losing his balance on the stairs of Air Force One has gone viral -- he now uses a shorter flight of stairs -- and he has occasionally given rambling answers during press conferences.

Worse for Biden, voters don´t so far have the same concerns about his likely election rival Donald Trump, despite the fact that Trump is 77 and has been known to make similar slip-ups.